On the dangers of a mindless deference to authority (rectal earache)

💎 On the dangers of a mindless deference to authority (rectal earache)

Errors in the medicine patients receive can occur for a variety of reasons. However, a book entitled Medication Errors: Causes and Prevention by two Temple University pharmacology professors, Michael Cohen and Neil Davis, attributes much of the problem to the mindless deference given the “boss” of the patient’s case: the attending physician. According to Professor Cohen, “in case after case, patients, nurses, pharmacists, and other physicians do not question the prescription.” Take, for example, the strange case of the “rectal earache” reported by Cohen and Davis. A physician ordered ear drops to be administered to the right ear of a patient suffering pain and infection there. But instead of writing out completely the location “right ear” on the prescription, the doctor abbreviated it so that the instructions read “place in R ear. Upon receiving the prescription. the duty nurse promptly put the required number of ear drops into the patient’s anus.

Excerpt from: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

Facebook Comments

Product Geek?

Join over 5,000 product geeks and get one email every Monday containing the best excerpts I've read over the previous week.